I have found 3 holes in my backyard/garden within the past week. I'm
guessing it's probably some animal. At first I wasn't concerned but
the other night the varmit attacked my garden with the biggest hole
yet. I think my tomato plant is gone for good. (i'm in AZ) Anyways,
anyone have any idea what animal could be doing this? And more
important, how do i get rid of it??
The hole is 2 or 2 1/2" round, and the dirt pile is about a 14"
diameter around the hole and maybe 6" high. I can't say how deep the
hole is, at the risk of getting bitten I haven't put my fingers in it.
There's loose dirt in it, so it goes down further than you can see
it. If I was forced to guess or face a gruesome death I'd say it was
to 8" deep.
Christine -- Have you noticed any tunnels near the surface? What types of
damage is the varmint causing (veges, trees, shrubs, etc)? A hole that size
could easily be a mole, a vole, a prairie dog, or any number of small
Personally I'd be adding rat poison or Mole-nots to the holes and maybe set
my Hav-a-hart to catch the critter.
Is Arizona one of those western areas with chronic bubonic plague? That
might be my main concern.
I haven't noticed any tunnels near the surface. The first 2 holes the
varmit dug were in the dirt/rocks in my backyard. There isn't any
tress or shrubs near those. The 3rd hole was right next to my biggest
tomato plant. It seems like everytime i cover up the hole a new one
appears. I filled the first 2 holes and then the 3rd one appeared in
the garden. I haven't filled up the 3rd one and since then, no more
How do i get rid of the varmit?
firstname.lastname@example.org (J. Del Col) wrote:
Arizona is Gopher Central.
You can recognize a pocket-gopher hole by the fan-shaped expelled soil
which has a small plug of loose soil in the middle. Gophers rarely use the
door for any purpose but expelling soil, then replug it. If there is no
such fan-mound, it is not likely a gopher, but could be a rock-squirrel or
Arizona's commonest of three gopher species is the Valley Pocket Gopher.
It rarely comes above ground, so you can have them a great long while &
never see them. They tunnel aggressively eating any taproots they
encounter, & pulling grass & green leafy herbs into the holes by
pulling on them from below. Unfortunately the only sure way to get rid of
them is with lethal scissor traps that get them in their tunnels. However,
although moles rarely leave a garden because of repellants & harrassment
or poisons, pocket gophers do sometimes abandon areas where their tunnels
are repeatedly smashed, cayenne peppered, flooded, & otherwise harrassed
until the gopher(s) decide this garden just ain't worth it, & they can be
poisoned or gassed or smoked. But smarter ones will barrier themselves
safely into one part of their tunnels until the danger passes, &
ultimately a lethal trap must be resorted to. They do particularly dislike
flooding & some farms keep them at bay by using ditch irrigation to water
Their favorite food is dandylion roots & similar weed taproots, so unless
you grow carrots, which they adore, they might not be harming anything
important, & might be marginally tolerable garden residents. Mostly they
can't be tolerated even by bleedingheart nature-lovers like myself, as
they will also gnaw through PVC pipes, & chew up undergound electrical
lines, & mess up even the bedding plants they don't eat. It is not
difficult to arrange one's gardening techniques to allow for happy
interactions with chipmunks, squirrels or a groundhog, but less easily
done with gophers.
The best Arizona natural control method is to encourage & never harrass
bullsnakes, which are harmless to people & often specialize in eating
Here's a complete guide to controlling gophers from the Arizona point of view:
Arizonans seem to have been at the vanguard of spreading the false rumor
that planting Euphorbia lathyris repells gophers, calling it the Gopher
Purge Plant. This gardening myth was so widely held to be true that field
studies were done in Arizona, showing what should've been too obvious for
such a gardening myth to have gotten started in the first place, Euphorbia
lathyris has no effect on gophers at all.
If its a rock squirrel they spend time hunting above ground & will be
seen, & are cute, & in many cases perfectly tolerable in gardens, though
that'll vary & depend on what exists to harvest & how annoying it is when
a squirrel beats you to the harvest. People don't generally shit bricks
over these squirrels & may even put corn & nuts out for them. They don't
look any different than tree squirrels. If they do become burdons, they
can be live trapped for release elsewhere -- if there's anywhere to
reasonably release them.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
Well, I've never experienced a gopher eating one. (They will eat just
about anything else in a vegetable garden and, although experienced
gardeners know of plants that seem to be avoided by gophers, others will
cite exceptions from their experiences. The bottom line seems to be if
you want a garden, especially a veggie garden, you're likely to be
killing gophers or building garden structures that exclude them.
I agree, 25 cent solution to the gopher problem.....
Here we have ground hogs, and indeed they make hogs of themselves (if they
can get away with it...)
Spot em, pop em....no more problem....!
Cheeky little bugger was eating my peas this year....but after that, he ate
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